I used to always think that summer time was the end of the school year.
Then the summer before my senior year in high school, standing between two mirrors, I realized that summer might actually be the beginning of the school year.
Kind of a mind blowing concept right?
Seen in that light, the work we put in during the summer is incredibly important.
If we improve our game and develop winning habits it will surely carry over into the next season.
Most importantly, if compete and win some games/tournaments, the confidence we gain from those experiences will serve as momentum starting the new season.
Think about my last post, "The Rulers Back." Before the 2008 olympics Kobe did win MVP, but the Lakers lost in the Finals to the Celtics. After he saved the US in Beijing, He dropped 61 at the Garden, was all-star co-MVP, and more importantly finals MVP.
How about LeBron? After winning gold he then collected two consecutive MVPs.
And what about Dwayne Wade? Having an injury plagued season (only 51 games, no playoffs) before the '08 olympics, Wade was the leading scorer for team USA and and carried the team in the first half of the gold medal game against Spain. Any co-incidence that the following NBA season he played 79 games and had the best year of his career from a statistical standpoint (30.2 points, 7.5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2.2 steals per game on 49% shooting)?
Of course these guys we stars before the olympics.
But what if we apply this concept to the group of younger players that were on last summer's 2010 gold medal world championship team? Actually, as gratifying the Redeem team was in '08, what team USA did last summer was even more impressive.
Let's look at some of the players on that team and see how they faired before and after winning a gold medal on the international stage.
|Hmmm, Dr. JRS makes a good point.|
Season after the gold medal: 27.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game on 46% shooting.
Durant's numbers actually went down during the regular season. Maybe this wasn't the best example to start off with. But, what did leading Team USA to a gold medal and winning tournament MVP do for Durant come playoff time?
Playoffs before the gold medal: 25 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game on 35% shooting.
lost in first round.
Playoffs after the gold medal: 28.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game on 45% shooting.
Advanced to western conference finals.
Season before the gold medal: 16.1 points, 8 assists, and 4.9 rebound per game on 42% shooting (22% from three).
Season after the gold medal: 21.9 points, 8.2, and 4.6 rebounds per game on 44% shooting (33% from three). Not to mention being selected to the all-star game for the first time as well as the all-NBA third team.
|Wow, those summer workouts|
really payed off.
Season after the gold medal: 25 points, 7.7 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game on 45% shooting (33% from three).
Let's not forget that he led his team to the best record in the NBA (going from 41-41 to 62-20) and as you might recall, was selected first team all-NBA and MVP.
We can go with the numbers here, or we can simply state that he won 6th man of the year in the season after winning the gold medal.
Season before the gold medal: 16.9 points and 3 assists per game.
Gordon was the surprise of the 2010 world championships for team USA - becoming their best shooter, outside of Durant.
Season after the gold medal: 22.3 points and 4.4 assists a game.
Gordon is now a budding star that has no regard for James Anderson, Tim Duncan or Paul Milsap.
|Look at me. I'm dressed for success!|
Season after the gold medal: 20.2 points and 15.2 rebounds per game on 47% shooting (42% from three)
How about recording the first 30-30 game (points & rebounds) in 28 years (although Wilt Chamberlain literally did it dozens of times)?
Selected to his first all-star game and was named NBA's most improved player. Not to mention the Right Guard "Love in the shower" commercials.
Here's a cool little fact: besides playing in the world championships together, Rose, Westbrook, and Love spent the summer working out together in California. I guess it's not that surprising that all three had breakout years.
Again, forget the numbers. He changed the culture of Dallas' defense this year and brought a winning pedigree. Now the Mavs are the champs.
|All I do is win|
Needless to say, what you do in the summer is incredibly important as a basketball player.